The Only Design Trends That Matter for Short-Term Rentals

Jan 19, 2024

At the start of a new year, you'll see all the main design publications put out a "trends" article, about what's hot and what's not for interiors in the moment and in the year ahead. 

I like these articles. They're fun to read and it feels like you're looking through a little interior design crystal ball. (Or as Jonathan Adler says, acrylic ball. 😉) I've always shied away from writing a "trends" article for Airbnb or short-term rental interiors because I don't usually encourage strict trend following for rentals. I think it's more important to design around the location, ideal guest, and a property's inherent qualities. 

However, today I'm breaking my own rule. I'm writing a trends article about interiors for rentals in the year ahead: 2024. 

I was inspired to break my trend of not discussing trends by looking at a recent marketing email from Soho Home which reminded me of a recent pair of jeans I bought. They both screamed "1970s". Remember that wood paneling and shag carpet look from the 1970s that everyone eradicated with fervent vigor in the 90's? Yeah, it's back. 

above image: Soho House Amsterdam

You've seen it around. You know the 70's are coming back in all areas of fashion including interiors. And although I really don't like some things about this, I must say it's growing on me, as trends always do. First of all, the current look is a fresher take on this era because it includes, say it with me, LESS POLYESTER. ;) Fabrics, even synthetics, have improved oh so much in the last 5 decades. Whew. Thank goodness for that. 

What I love about the 'new 70s', is that it includes a lot of fun geometric patterns to lighten the load, and a fun twist on art deco thrown in. Really when design is at its best these days, it seems to be a nice amalgamation of the best of all the decades past put into one design. Not an easy feat for a designer to pull off, and this article will feature images exclusively from Soho House Designs because I think they are stellar at doing just that. 

So here's a list of 6 Trends I LOVE that seem to be on the up and up in the year ahead. Then we'll follow this up with a more practical "trends" list, outlining what you can and should think about for your rental in the year ahead and beyond. 

First, this blog is brought to you by, some trendy brown things I find really gorgeous but without the Soho Home pricetag. 

1. lamp | 2. artwork | 3. floor lamp | 4. pillow

6 Trends I LOVE for 2024 

1. RICH COLORS AND DARK WOOD TONES

above image: Soho House Amsterdam 

Think of the 70s smoking lounge but with a fresh twist and better quality fabrics. And no smoke. Rich jewel tones, mood lighting at all levels around the room, and interesting geometrics make this sexy new vibe work for 2024. 

2. Rattan everything

1. lamp | 2. coffee table | 3. mirror | 4. lounge chair

Rattan has been in vogue for several years and trend experts say it's sticking around. I still love rattan in all forms. How about you?! (Shop a few of my favorite pieces above! 👆)

3. Blending Eras

above image: Soho House Farmhouses

Blending styles and eras in one space is IN and being sterile or cookie cutter anything is OUT. As I mentioned, this can be challenging, but enter your best friend, Canva vision boardsto keep you on track and confident that your design is going to come together in the end. 

4. Color Drenching

above image: Soho House Shorditch, London

Try using bold color choices to strategically allow your rental to stand out above the cookie-cutter "Airbnb design style" trend, which most typically has a lot of white-on-white subway tile and boring same-ole-same-ole mid-century modern furniture. The word is out that this year, guests crave originality and interesting color choices to make your place jump off the page. 

Also, STRIPES! Like on the bed above, stripes can add a fresh statement to a room. 

5. Mixing Materials (even metals!)

above image: Soho House Holloway

When it comes to combining materials in 2024 the only rule is... there are no rules! Brushed brass and chrome. Leather and velvet. Anything goes! And don't be afraid of a little pattern clashing. To make sure you stay just the right side of going too crazy, make sure there's something tying the space together. This might be an overall color scheme or design style period - just enough of a theme to make the space feel cohesive.

6. Wallpaper

above image: Soho House Farmhouses

Wallpaper is still hot in the year ahead. This image above portrays a traditional English cottage vibe, with the opportunity for some pattern-on-pattern fun and color play. 

I LOVE Hygge and West wallpapers, and Spoonflower!

7. Plaster pinks and warm peaches

above image: Soho Home: Shop The Look

I can't share a 2024 trends blog without mentioning the Pantone Color of the Year, Peach Fuzz. This color is to represent our "want to be close to those we love and the joy we get when allowing ourselves to tune into who we are and savor that moment of quiet time." This, according to the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, Laurie Pressman. 

Peach fuzz is just one representation of the trend toward colors with warm and inviting undertones. (See 1970s mentions and all the brown above.)


 

So what does all of this mean for you...

Now, because most of us aren't going to gut our rentals and start over this year with wood paneling and overpriced furniture, a venture that would be wildly bad form from a business and environmental standpoint, let's now talk for a minute about the trends that I would argue really matter for the savvy short-term rental host. 

While being aware of current trends can provide inspiration and ideas, there are compelling reasons why Airbnb owners should prioritize practicality, local style, and the unique characteristics of their property over strictly adhering to trends. Let's do a list, shall we? 

1. Timelessness Over Trendiness: Interior design trends are, by nature, transient. What is fashionable today might look dated in a few years or even months. For short-term rental owners, it's more practical to create a timeless aesthetic that won't require frequent updates. Classic designs, neutral color palettes, and quality furnishings stand the test of time and appeal to a broader range of guests. 

That said, I would encourage you to take some risks and incorporate some color and uniqueness where you can. The more practical approach to this is to add bold touches to things that can be easily changed like throw pillows, artwork, and even some wallpaper or paint. (Go bold in a lounge with a dark color! Have some fun!) 

above image: Soho House Istanbul

2. Reflecting Local Culture and Architecture: Each property is unique, particularly in its location and architectural style. Emphasizing these aspects can make a rental more attractive to guests. For instance, a coastal property might benefit from a nautical theme, while a city loft could embrace industrial elements. These choices resonate more authentically with guests than a design that merely mimics the latest trend and you should always look to incorporate these into your design.

3. Personal Touch and Character: Guests often choose Airbnb and other short-term rental properties for a more personalized experience compared to standard hotels. A rental that reflects the owner's personal style or tells a story through its decor can create a more memorable and engaging experience for guests. This personal touch is something that trend-driven designs often lack.

4. Cost-Effectiveness: Keeping up with the latest trends can be expensive and time-consuming. Short-term rental owners are typically better off investing in high-quality basics that will endure wear and tear and remain stylish over time. This approach is more cost-effective in the long run. (A.K.A - stray from choosing the patterned sofa...you will probably regret that choice in a few years.) And if you need a helping hand with where to shop great-quality furniture for your Airbnb, 👈 head to this blog.

above image: Soho House Nashville

5. Comfort and Functionality: The primary goal of short-term rental design should be to create a comfortable and functional space for guests. This means considering the layout, the type of furniture, and the practical needs of a traveler. Trendy designs might look appealing in photographs but may not always offer the comfort or functionality guests require.

How does that sofa FEEL?

How good is your mattress?! 

These are the questions that are most important in your hospitality business. 

6. Sustainability Considerations: In the era of environmental consciousness, sustainable choices are increasingly important. Trend-driven designs can often lead to wastefulness, as items are discarded or replaced to keep up with the latest styles. Opting for durable, eco-friendly, and upcycled materials is not only better for the environment but also resonates with a growing segment of travelers who value sustainability. (Let me hear it for my thrifters and Facebook Marketplace Queens, Like Courtney👇 from the Governor's Quarters in Hilton Head Island! 👸) 

above image: Gov.'s Quarters, Hilton Head Island


 

In conclusion, while understanding interior design trends can provide useful insights, short-term rental owners should prioritize creating spaces that are timeless, reflective of the property's unique attributes, and focused on guest comfort and functionality. This approach not only ensures a more sustainable and cost-effective operation but also helps create distinctive, memorable experiences for guests, which is a key driver of success in the short-term rental market. 

Which design trends will you be jumping on board with this year? Send me a message on Instagram to let me know!


Other great reads for you...

A No Brainer List: The Best Bedding and Mattress for your Airbnb

Beach Property Makeover: Taking an Airbnb from Drab to FAB

STR Design Made Easy: Modern Cottage

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